BESIDES its famed leading role in the UK’s oil and gas sector, the Granite City can now add another feather to its cap – fresh data from our bank shows the city to be a leader when it comes to business innovation nationwide.
Findings from the Index of Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the UK, a report from CEBR in collaboration with Virgin Money UK PLC, the parent company of Clydesdale Bank, revealed Aberdeen continues to punch above its weight, with the number of patents filed since 2015 higher there than in any other city surveyed in the UK.
This can be partly explained by Scotland’s rich educational heritage, which it can be immensely proud of. The country is home to eight of the UK’s 50 leading universities, which invest more in research and development (R&D) than anywhere else in the UK.
In 2017, £198 per capita was spent by Scottish Universities on R&D, nearly 50% higher than the per capita spend in the east of England (the region with the next highest per capita spend by universities). This has resulted in a significant number of firms in technical fields coming together to produce a strong stream of technological developments and innovations. The success of the city, alongside its universities, means it’s likely that innovation levels will get even better in the years ahead.
This research has real world ramifications and is far from just data on a page – it is uplifting news and reaffirms Aberdeen’s important place in the UK economy. An encouraging attitude towards innovation translates to forward-thinking business ideas, and businesses with patented tech at their fingertips can be a massive pull for employees from far and wide, creating more opportunities for local people.
There’s more that can be done though. Over the past five years, as the report explains - the value of grants offered to organisations in Scotland has amounted to around £51 per capita. This is 29% lower than the UK average of £72 per capita. Increasing Scottish firms’ awareness of Innovate UK and other related sources of funding for research and development could go a long way in improving overall levels of innovation in the Scottish economy.
As for us, we’ll keep playing our role in financing businesses in the city and further afield as always, making sure we’re offering flexible kinds of products and services. This support, combined with the great ideas of the city’s businesses, means Aberdeen is set for an exciting future.